Dry Fire Practice


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salesguy
August 7, 2009, 08:48 PM
How many times can one dry fire a firearm without causing damage? I am thinking of dry fire practice on the days I can't get out to the range. Probably no more than 10-20 reps. What's your take? ( I was always told to never dry fire anything from people who knew very little about guns)

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Japle
August 7, 2009, 08:57 PM
Unless it's an old .22, the limit is 873,981,082 per year.

Seriously, with very few exceptions, you can't hurt a modern centerfire gun by dryfiring it.

What gun are you asking about?

buck460XVR
August 7, 2009, 09:24 PM
snap caps

jmr40
August 7, 2009, 09:49 PM
Depends on the gun. Not a good idea on most 22's or most double shotguns. Most centerfire pistols and rifles will not be hurt. I have a 37 year old Remington 700 that has been dry fired at least 10,000 times with no problems. Dry fire practice can be a good teacher.

My Kel-Tec specifically says not to dry fire and I think Smith revolvers with the firing pin on the hammer should be dry fired sparingly. I've never used snap caps, but guess it would not hurt, and you may feel better for it.

salesguy
August 7, 2009, 09:50 PM
Primarily Glock 30 which is my daily carry. Occasionally the P3AT.

Mad Magyar
August 7, 2009, 09:52 PM
IMHO, please....A waste of time.....Why? YOU KNOW that the pistol is not going "Kaboom" & NO RECOIL-NO NOISE! You can be smooth and be really good dry firing; but forget it...Go out to the range for real practice...:)
I recall Massad Ayoob downplayed my point and others about "mirror practice" for the draw-presentation phase as a waste of time. I feel you can add dry-firing to that scenario:cool:....
Before some of you go ballistic, I'm not saying any of you should-not; that's up to you! I believe any activity should have some positive evidence to sustain doing it....I don't believe there is.....

The Wiry Irishman
August 7, 2009, 10:01 PM
Dry firing builds up muscle memory that prevents you from flinching etc when your gun is going to make recoil and noise. My groups shrunk dramatically when I started serious dry fire practice.

I really wouldn't worry about damage at all. It'll take a lot of dry firing to break something, and its usually firing pins that break, and they're cheap.

AK103K
August 7, 2009, 11:15 PM
I dry fire everything I tend to use, all the time. You dont have to have a bang and recoil to benefit from it, and you WILL benefit from it.

I use snap caps too, and besides taking away any worries about damage, it adds a safety level, as you have to clear the gun and put it in.

In 45+ years of doing it, I've broke exactly "1" firing pin. That was a GI firing pin in a heavily shot and dry fired M1A.

donato
August 7, 2009, 11:37 PM
Article on dry fire practice:

http://grayguns.com/dry-fire-secrets-of-the-pros/

Malamute
August 8, 2009, 12:54 PM
Winchester levers, and Marlin levers can break the tip off the firing pin from dry firing. Ruger transfer bars can break. I've broken 3 in 2 different Ruger SA's. A local gunsmith said he's replaces a few also.

I've dry fired several Smith centerfire revolvers untold thousands of times with zero problems. They have the firing pin in the hammer.

Snap caps are best, and help avoid the problems. Dry firing is a very good way to stay tuned up.


Ruger transfer bars.

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b387/Malamute/outdoor%20sports/IMG_0453.jpg

dmazur
August 9, 2009, 01:15 AM
It's probably worth mentioning that a laser sight can be used in conjunction with dry-fire practice to see if you are "pulling" the shot off to one side.

The laser sight isn't allowed in IDPA, of course, but it can still be used for practice.

I found out that the "feedback" from the dot was very helpful in developing a consistent trigger release that then applied to iron sight use.

sniper5
August 9, 2009, 01:28 AM
One reason I like revolvers for teaching: You can throw a dead "bean" or two in the cylinder and the person shooting doesn't know where they are. Then watch their front sight for movement like a hawk. That's how I like to progress from dry fire to live fire. And the exercise repeats as the power level of the cartridges goes up. Very hard to integrate dead cartridges into the routine with an auto. Although I like autos I find it easier to teach with a revolver. And it won't kill ANYONE to learn how to shoot a revolver well whether they plan to use one for SD or not.

AK103K
August 9, 2009, 09:34 AM
Very hard to integrate dead cartridges into the routine with an auto.
Not at all, just throw a snap cap or two in the mag. Its also adds a level and helps with stoppage drills.

sniper5
August 9, 2009, 10:27 AM
I do the snap cap thing when I want to create a stoppage. But I don't like to start a newbie with that much stuff all at one time. I would rather work on the basics first and then throw in the other drills later.

OurSafeHome.net
August 9, 2009, 10:39 AM
Mad Magyar:IMHO, please....A waste of time.....Why? YOU KNOW that the pistol is not going "Kaboom" & NO RECOIL-NO NOISE! You can be smooth and be really good dry firing; but forget it...Go out to the range for real practice...

So I guess the thousands of Marines that I have directed to spend tens of thousands of hours dry-firing did NOT produce the finest marksmen in the world.

IMEO (In My Expert Opinion) Dry-firing is very valuable, and is sometimes more valuable than live fire practice.

Mad Magyar
August 9, 2009, 09:14 PM
that I have directed to spend tens of thousands of hours dry-firing did NOT produce the finest marksmen in the world.


Dry-firing is very valuable, and is sometimes more valuable than live fire practice.
IMEO
When you exaggerate like that; all of sudden your IMEO becomes incredulous!
Give me any young person, or old for that matter, for one 3 hr. session with a .22 caliber and .45acp on the firing line. I'll show more results than all the thousands of clicks or hours spent on dry-firing: guaranteed....:)

OurSafeHome.net
August 9, 2009, 09:37 PM
When you exaggerate like that; all of sudden your IMEO becomes incredulous!

No exaggeration.

4 platoons of 60 recruits = 240 recruits/series
4 series each week = 960 recruits/week
960 recruits x 10 hours of dry-firing = 9600 man hours of dry firing IN MY FIRST WEEK AT RR DET PARRIS ISLAND.

IMEO, yes, my EXPERT opinion. I have a badge that says "Rifle Expert" right on it, and it sports a bar that says "5th Award", too.

Give me any young person, or old for that matter, for one 3 hr. session with a .22 caliber and .45acp on the firing line. I'll show more results than all the thousands of clicks or hours spent on dry-firing: guaranteed....

You wanna put your ONE person with only "live-fire" training against the 50+ Marines that will qualify as rifle experts out of my 960?

I'll take that bet any day of the week. ;-)

AK103K
August 9, 2009, 09:45 PM
Give me any young person, or old for that matter, for one 3 hr. session with a .22 caliber and .45acp on the firing line. I'll show more results than all the thousands of clicks or hours spent on dry-firing: guaranteed....
My kids started dry firing their Chipmunks long before they ever fired their first live round. That first live round was in the bull at ten yards offhand when they did fire it, as were most of the rest of the rounds fired that day. Both were 4 years old at the time. They didnt learn to shoot in three hours, they started the day they were born and worked at trigger and breath control, as well as proper field positions, from the time they could hold the gun.


I dont know what your experience with firearms and marksmanship is, but it seems to be very different than anything I've encountered in a lot of years of all types of shooting, including years of high power shooting. Dry firing is the norm in every aspect of the shooting sports I've encountered, and its ALWAYS produced benefits for me, and most anyone I've shot competitively with, as well as novices. I dont know of any discipline with in the sport or trade, that doesnt do it. Just for enlightenment's sake, what are you basing your thoughts on?

The Wiry Irishman
August 9, 2009, 09:59 PM
Give me any young person, or old for that matter, for one 3 hr. session with a .22 caliber and .45acp on the firing line. I'll show more results than all the thousands of clicks or hours spent on dry-firing: guaranteed....

That may be, but if my experience is any indicator, once they learn the basics their groups won't start to shrink dramatically until they start pointing and clicking at home.

jmr40
August 9, 2009, 10:03 PM
To deny the benefits of dry fire practice is silly at best. You may debate that it may damage the gun, but even if it does the benefits outweigh the problems it may cause.

As I stated in an earlier post in this thread, I own a rifle that has been dry fired at least 10,000 times since being made in 1974. If it breaks tomorrow it would have cost me $10,000+ in ammo costs to get that much triggertime.

There is no telling how many hundreds of thousands of times I have dry fired guns in my lifetime. During hunting season I dry fire the rifles I plan to hunt with on almost a daily basis to stay in practice.

Live firing is needed, but dry firing will allow a new shooter, or even an experienced shooter get used to a particular firearms trigger without worrying about recoil. Same principal as shooting a lot of 22's and working up to heavier recoiling rifles.

sokygunner
August 9, 2009, 11:17 PM
Dry fire practice is NOT A WASTE OF TIME...most firearms training for federal law enforcement starts with standing in a classroom with snap caps in your weapon practicing trigger pulls while holding a perfect sight picture. I strengthens hands and creates muscle memory while making you very relaxed with the idea of pulling the trigger. The idea is also to promote propper technique with grip, stance, breathing, trigger pull with no recoil. The same reason people start shooting in their back yard as a kid with a .22, any dumb ass who gives there kid .38, .45, or anything bigger than a .22 to start them off is just going to mess them up from the start and teach them to flinch because in their mind recoil is coming. Dry fire practice is a tried and true method of refining skills. On the subject of damage to the gun and snap caps, it depends on the gun. A sig or a 1911 with a titanium firing pin can handle endless dry fires without damage, a beretta 92 can break the pin in as little as 20 dry fires...it has happened, I have seen it, it has happened to my beretta, and if you read the manual it says NOT to dry fire without a snap cap. Buy a pack of snap caps for a few bucks and don't break your gun...worst part is you can break a firing pin and not know it and carry the gun thinking it is fine when really it has a broken firing pin and will not fire...I've seen that one happen too. Dry fire practice with snap caps loaded in the mag is great for refining your technique and focusing on the basics as well as giving you a chance to practice things such as "Tap/Rack" to clear a malfunction. Masaad Ayoob is probably a very nice guy but his experience is limited to writing books about gun fights, not being in one, I've been in them and I've been taught how to shoot both on my own as a child and from the government. Guess what, Dry fire is a very good tool. Anybody who gets their information on gun fights and calibers as man stoppers and crap like that from Ayoob is only reciting what they read in a gun magazine while they probably dream of doing a felony stop on somebody and getting in a gun fight while being a bad ass cop of some sort...those who have actually been in gun fights, arrested people, been in car chases, and worn a badge don't really listen to a damn word Ayoob says, our instructors are better than he is and we are better than he is. He may have carried a badge for a while but he rides on a reputation in gun magazines and has for years. Get your snap caps, put a target up on the wall, and practice the fundamentals of shooting, once you train yourself to do it through repetition it will automatically come out right when you really have to do it.

Justin
August 10, 2009, 12:10 AM
Mad Magyar, out of the people you've trained, how many have become A-class or better USPSA shooters, sharpshooter or better bullseye pistol, high power, or smallbore rifle shooters, or have received high marks in marksmanship certification programs affiliated with police, military, or 4H?

Thanks.

Sam1911
August 10, 2009, 08:55 AM
Justin's spot on!

When the Master and Grand-master class shooters from just about every discipline mention hours of dryfiring practice to perfect their trigger control and follow-through -- and when all the competition instructors accross those disciplies tell their students, "Now, go home and dryfire ?,??? times a night," I guess I'll listen to them.

Back to the original poster's questions: Most center-fire guns can be dry-fired without damage. When in doubt, read the owner's manual and/or call the manufacturer. Unless you're shooting something old and rare, go for it. A new firing pin might cost you $6 or so -- if it breaks after 5,000 or 50,000 strikes. So keep a spare... The benefits are worth it.

-Sam

Mad Magyar
August 10, 2009, 11:25 AM
out of the people you've trained, how many have become A-class or better USPSA shooters, sharpshooter or better bullseye pistol, high power, or smallbore rifle shooters, or have received high marks in marksmanship certification programs affiliated with police, military, or 4H?

Some, no specific number. My instruction-drills are for CQC utilizing the CC for the average citizen, not specifically for bulls-eye competition. My multiples target are a Kill-Zone of 10" x 16" and not a 3" spread. Apples to oranges. After all, for 99.9% of those that are reading this: their weapon is far more accurate than the one holding it. It's a futility that we all must face...
Here what I see looking over the general replies: an apologetic, rationalized excuses substituting "live fire" for "dry-fire" as the more important element in shooting. Personally, I think this a dangerous disservice to many who delude themselves thinking they can "type these keys" 24-7, practice at home, thinking when "hell breaks loose": I'm ready.. I find it disturbing that hardly no one is giving "live fire" it's proper due??
YOU WILL NOT cure "flinch" and "trigger-jerk" snapping away at home.....If you believe this: keep doing it...What this tells me is that many posters are not firing regularly, or not at all; not fully realizing that "noise & recoil" are the bane for most shooters...You can't substitute that in your living room...
A few of you mentioned the top-echelon competitive shooters. Do you know how many "live rds" they go through in preparation for a big-match?
BTW Sokygunner, I didn't say M. Ayoob down-played dry-fire; I mentioned "mirror training" and that this subject might well be included...
Anyway, I stated my opinion and appreciate all the constructive criticism of it...:)

Justin
August 10, 2009, 11:47 AM
Fail.

At no point did I say that dry fire training was a substitute for live fire. Nor are any of rankings I listed the sort only able to be acquired by "top-echelon competitive shooters."

You'll note that I asked for A-class or Sharpshooter rankings, not Grand Master or High Master.

Sam1911
August 10, 2009, 11:52 AM
YOU WILL NOT cure "flinch" and "trigger-jerk" snapping away at home.....
Odd. That's exactly why you do it. To practice the correct motion and concentration of focus without the distraction of recoil and muzzle blast. So that when you do hit the live-fire range you've established and/or reenforced the correct process in your hands and your mind.

Of course it's not a substitue for live-fire. I don't think anyone said it is. Each shooter will need to learn to work with and ride the action of the gun as it recoils and cycles. For that you will need to do live-fire practice.

But you said dry-firing is "a waste of time," which means it has no place in a training regimen. And that's dead wrong.

When we speak of competition shooters, bulls-eye is far less represented in that set than IDPA and USPSA types these days. And those "go-fast" guys are practicing a purified version of the same thing you say you're teaching. Fastest hits as accurately as they can be delivered at ranges from contact distance to 30 yds, mostly using service pistols that can be carried for personal protection. (And a few race guns, of course.) Does your "CC or CQB" training somehow cover some other set of scenarios to which those skills don't apply?

What this tells me is that many posters are not firing regularly, or not at all;
Don't let's be too insulting or pedantic. I just counted up empty primer boxes while cleaning out my reloading room. I threw out 5,900 rds. worth from this year's reloading. Now that's not what I'd consider a "LOT" of shooting, but that's just for the one gun... So, while I don't shoot as much as a lot of the posters here, I do hit the range every now and again. I'm vaguely familliar with "noise & recoil." :rolleyes:

not fully realizing that "noise & recoil" are the bane for most shooters There's a lot of things that hinder inexperienced shooters from shooting at their best. Noise and recoil are significant, to the newest of newbies, at least, but I'd say the real "bane" of most shooters are poor grip, stance, and trigger control.

And those happen to be things that you can demonstrably improve through repetitious dry-fire practice.

-Sam

Vonderek
August 10, 2009, 11:53 AM
Extensive dry firing was what improved my expertise with the J-Frame.

While live fire is indispensible, it can be extremely expensive to try to cure a trigger control problem with live fire.

Robert
August 10, 2009, 11:59 AM
Ok, so the fact that dry firing helped cure me of my flinch is just a total coincidence... sure...

Justin
August 10, 2009, 12:07 PM
What's really weird is that I was able to reduce my split times, reloads, and transition times by using a "useless" dry fire drill based on the El Presidente.

It's too bad no one told me I was just wasting my time.

makarovnik
August 10, 2009, 08:18 PM
Don't do it with any of the Kel-Tec models. You may break the firing pin or worse might not be able to remove it. Same goes for the CZ-52.

jimmyraythomason
August 10, 2009, 08:46 PM
I don't practice shooting by dry firing. I outgrew the need to impress my mirror.

AK103K
August 10, 2009, 08:59 PM
Hey, if you boys who dont dry fire dont want to waste your precious time doing so, then dont. It sounds like you have it all figured out, and probably really have no need to fire live ammo either. :neener:

Once you think you have learned and know everything, your actually right back at the beginning. If thats to deep and makes your head hurt, then never mind, it will probably cause you to develop a bad flinch trying to work it all out. Well, at least an annoying twitch anyway. :)

jimmyraythomason
August 10, 2009, 09:53 PM
I don't flinch(my dad cured that when I was a teenager). I actually DO have it all figured out.

AK103K
August 10, 2009, 10:33 PM
I rest my case. :)

Once you stop learning, or believe you can, your stagnating, and back to square one or less.

I once almost thought I knew it all, but I was 18, so I was in for the rude awakening I deserved (I actually did know it all at 14, but the old mans sweep and hook kick knocked it out of me when I tried to prove it :D). Havent known it all or figured it all out since, but it hasnt been for lack of trying. I just know better now. :)

Oh, and about the flinch..... give me an afternoon, and I'll have you flinching so bad, your dad will disown you. :)

Justin
August 10, 2009, 11:41 PM
I wish I had it all figured out. It would be totally sweet to have my pick of all the best stuff at the prize tables.

:)

Roccobro
August 11, 2009, 02:57 AM
I dry fired my pair of 642's 10,000 times before even taking them to the range or carrying them. good thing too. Both broke the trigger stud.

New frames, 10k more dry fires each and all is good!

Justin

jimmyraythomason
August 11, 2009, 07:55 AM
Ak103K,why would I WANT to learn how to flinch? BTW,my dad is deceased.

Malamute
August 11, 2009, 11:17 AM
"To deny the benefits of dry fire practice is silly at best. You may debate that it may damage the gun, but even if it does the benefits outweigh the problems it may cause."





I quite agree on the benefits of dry fire practice. I realize I didn't state very emphatically that before, but I'm a wholehearted believer. I do it a LOT, I just don't do the Rugers much unless I have snap caps. I do feel it's best to use snap caps to reduce the chances of damaging some guns that can break parts. We often see comments like "...Rugers are virtually indestrctuble...", that just hasn't been my experience when dry firing them extensively. I surely don't want to find out I've broken transfer bar number 4 when I'm looking over the sights at a frisky grizzly at 5 feet and hear "click". Oops :what: That's a parts breakage I'm NOT willing to accept. Caps, store bought, or home made, are cheap.

Good discussion guys.

AK103K
August 11, 2009, 07:00 PM
why would I WANT to learn how to flinch?
I was being somewhat of a smartass there Jimmy.

But on the serious side, just because you think you've learned not to flinch, doesnt mean that your done forever with it. I dont normally flinch myself, but with a couple of heavy hammering guns, I know my shooting degrades as the number of rounds fired increases. Dry fire "memory", helps keep you focused, and the degradation to a minimum.

jimmyraythomason
August 11, 2009, 08:36 PM
"just because you think you've learned not to flinch, doesnt mean that your done forever with it." I was taught breathing and muscle control while shooting as a teenager,I am now 56. I think it's held up pretty well. If it works for you go for it but MY shooting isn't lacking because I don't subscribe to any certain style ,technique or training method.

AK103K
August 11, 2009, 09:19 PM
We're only two years apart, I'm 54, and I started learning to shoot about 10 years sooner, at 4.

I dont think my shooting is lacking either, but someone always seems to come along and show me something new that often helps it improve.

I'm always open to try something new if I feel it could be productive. You never know until you actually try though, and sometimes, your pleasantly surprised and amazed by the results, sometimes you just shake your head.

If you get stuck on what you "think" is the best your going to do, you'll never know if you dont at least try the new ideas and see what they have to offer.

A couple of specific examples for me were switching from an "open leg sitting position" I was taught as a kid and shot with for years, to the "cross legged" sitting in use by the more competitive shooters of the time. It was at a clinic put on by the USMC MTU. At that time, I was I was shooting at or near expert, but never consistently. After that clinic, a few other pointers, and some work, expert became a more consistent thing. Dry firing by the way, was heavily stressed too, and I also picked up some new tips there too. If you think that you cant get the feel of a rifle recoiling and cycling while dry firing, you'd be amazed at what a quarter, and a buddy can do to improve your shooting, without ever firing a round.

More recently, I switched to a "thumbs forward" grip, from the old "thumbs over thumb" grip. It wasnt an instant sell, but it went pretty quick the more I shot it. Besides my shooting improving, I also found I could more easily and quickly access the switch on the light that sits on the rail of my one SIG. One little change, and two new benefits gained.

Whether we like it or not, we're always lacking in some respect and can always learn something new, if we're willing to do so. Once we stop doing so, we begin to stagnate, and we begin to lose our edge. Same goes for everything, not just shooting. For us older boys, the minute we give in and start slowing down and not staying active, that stagnation sets in and we begin to quickly degrade. Keep that up, and pretty soon, you'll be doing all your shooting from a bench since you cant get into those field positions anymore. Well, its more about getting up from them than getting into them, unless of course, you let that Dunlop get away from you. :)

jimmyraythomason
August 11, 2009, 09:32 PM
Now if you had just given THAT response instead of post #32 this whole conversation may have taken on a different "flavor". That is well reasoned and well said. I concur with about 98% of it. I didn't say it wasn't helpful ,I just said I didn't do it.

m2steven
August 15, 2009, 10:45 PM
I think dry firing is good for muscle memory, and importantly, it's good for your trigger finger muscle in general. I remember when i started shooting again earlier this year, many triggers felt odd and difficult. Now most of them are pretty easy and easy to control.

I kind of agree with the person who recommends real noise and stress when practicing. Point well taken, but dry firing does much good in terms of keeping the hand in good shape.

Kerf
August 19, 2009, 02:13 AM
salesguy - here's a twist, with feedback.

Back in the old days, before snap caps were foisted on the shooting public as a need to have accessory, we used to use a pencil down the bore for dry fire practice. The eraser would absorb the blow of the firing pin, and the pencil would eject from the barrel and mark the target. A cardboard box set at proper height with a dot from a magic marker would be the target. You shoot for group size from about 6-10" away (whatever works, I don't remember the exact distance). It strengthens the arm, improves sight picture and trigger control. Plus, you get the same feedback from your target as using live ammo. It indicates whether you're flinching, or heeling etc. Try practicing with five, 5 shot strings, then measure your groups. When they begin improving with the pencil, they begin improving with the live fire.

As an aside; this can get out of hand. Guys started comparing and bragging about their dry fire groups. Competition ensued, rules were made, the money got heavy. And some shooters began matching their projectiles to brand, weight, length and lot number. Keep in mind, its just fun practice.

I prefer a Berol "Black Warrior" #2.5 x 130mm

Kerf

Ballistic Mule
August 19, 2009, 02:33 AM
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA Now go clean all the eraser gum outta your guns.

Thanks for the laugh!

Mad Magyar
August 19, 2009, 09:59 AM
Kerf, I rest my case......:D

Sam1911, you got me.......

Sam1911
August 19, 2009, 10:02 AM
It strengthens the arm, improves sight picture and trigger control. Plus, you get the same feedback from your target as using live ammo. It indicates whether you're flinching, or heeling etc. ... When they begin improving with the pencil, they begin improving with the live fire.


Kerf, I rest my case

So we're all in agreement then?

Good.

-Sam

nulfisin
August 19, 2009, 10:36 AM
It also helps you steady your eye and arm on a target. No would ever said it trains you to deal with noise or recoil. But recoil and noise don't mean squat if you can't point and click.

I never dry-fire my .22s. That said, the manual to my Ruger Single Six rimfire, if I'm remembering correctly, says you can do it without damaging anything.

All the other guns get dry-fired. I don't watch much TV, but "shooting" annoying faces on the screen is an amusing way to do it. Annoys the ___ out of the wifey, though.

Lakeshore
August 19, 2009, 12:01 PM
I have A_ZOOMs for each caliber handgun I own and they get fairly regular usage. Especially with a new gun I can learn the trigger pull and sights cheaper by clicking at home than by (expensively) blasting away at the range.

And I DO dry fire my .22s, auto and revolver. Use empty shell cases positioned so that the firing pin never strikes the same spot more than once; easily get 4-5 snaps from each.

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